As I transferred the white t-shirt and sock load into the dryer, I said to myself with some disappointment, "I do laundry in Israel, too."
In fact, I made a mental list of all the tasks I do throughout the day, and I didn't notice much of a difference between my new life in Israel and my old life in America.
The stray sock pile has increased here, and the dirty dishes pile up in the sink.
I still scramble to get everyone out the door in the morning, and collapse following bedtime routine with four kids. In America, I fussed over my stained carpet. Here, it's the white tiles.
On the one hand, it seems that moving to Israel has not elevated my life.
On the other hand, I mused as I folded the towels, we didn't have upbeat Jewish music playing over the city speaker system reminding us to light Shabbos candles back in New Jersey. That's a lot of fun.
And no Ethiopian bank clerk in America ever wished me, Chag Samayach.
How many gardeners in America suggest installing a Shabbos timer for the sprinkler system?
And what a sight to behold-- fathers home from work on Fridays pushing their kids on swings while the Mommies prepare the house for Shabbos. The Gregorian calendar and daily vernacular did not reflect the cycle of the Jewish year back in NJ.
The beauty of living in Israel can be found in the small details of daily life.
How nice, I reflected, to see my little world expand beyond its four corners when I walk into the park behind my house. Look at all these different Jewish women who came to Israel. She's from South Africa, she's from Argentina, her parents are from Morocco, she's from Australia, her husband's from France, her family has lived in Israel since the turn of the century, and her husband's family came from Yemen when he was a child. I am not the only immigrant here.
I threw my hands up in disgust as the stray sock pile fell off the bed and scattered across the tiles. And then I heard my five-year-old daughter downstairs singing Psalms in Hebrew as she colored pictures at the dining room table.
Psalms has already seeped into her little soul. At her impressionable age, she is absorbing the language of our spiritual heritage, Hebrew.
I started to put the towels away and remembered our tour of the Shomron. How the fresh air and strong wind hit our faces as we stood at the top of a hill in front of a tiny Shul. It felt as if we could see from one end of Israel to another. We stood in awe of the people that have made these hilltops their home, that live near the spot where many say Jacob, our forefather rested his head down on a rock to sleep.
On Shabbos, my children run through the streets freely without worry of cars or strangers snatching them up. Shabbos has become a day of rest. A day of peace.
I said to myself, it is nice here, but is it really worth the extra struggle for the average wife and mother like myself?
Yes, it is, I replied back.
The small details of daily life have made all the difference.
We have accomplished more spiritually for our family in six months than in eight years of marriage.
But some of the bigger details have also changed our lives. With my husband learning in Yeshiva in the morning (and working an American job at night), we have accomplished more spiritually for our family in six months than in eight years of marriage. Perhaps it's because the more you learn Torah, the more you love it. And if you love something, you want to share it with others. Our family has benefited spiritually from his joy.
But the benefit extends beyond our nuclear family. On his last visit, my father-in-law placed a kipa on his head, and accompanied my husband to Yeshiva. After one day, he too caught the bug, and returned every day for almost two weeks.
And when my father visited us, he donned a kipa as well and went to check out this "College of Jewish Studies." He returned, I believe, with a newfound understanding that we are not crazy fanatics. We're just normal people that want to live as close to the truth as possible. Moving to Israel has brought us closer to that goal.
Both families can see without a doubt that life in Israel is good for us.
And after two successful family visits, we can now say with absolute confidence: Miracles happen in Eretz Yisrael.
This should come as no surprise to anyone. Israel's birth was founded on miracles.
Now, as Yom Haatzmaut approaches, I am thinking of all those miracles and the divine providence that brought this state into being and brought my family here to live.
While Israel is not a perfect place, it's a place we can call our own. We can be Jewish Jews, and do all the Jewish things we want to do without being afraid or embarrassed. We can feel proud of our heritage and be a part of a future that we partake in building as voting citizens of Israel and members of its society.
Though the laundry continues to pile-up, and the dishes continue to greet me every evening, I know my life IS different and in many ways, more elevated.
And I am grateful to those people who made it possible for me to be here only 61 years after it became a nation.